Bird ends Day 1 Fastest as Mercedes suffer a tough start

Virgin Racing driver Sam Bird topped the first day pre-season testing for the 2019/2020 season at Valencia as Mercedes’ suffered a tough opening day with technical issues. 

There was a flurry of activity towards the end of the session with quick lap times coming in and Bird managed to set a 1:15.570 to end the day fastest.

Mercedes’ first day as an FE competitor ended with Stoffel Vandoorne down in 22nd place, after lapping 1.881s slower than Bird’s fastest time in the afternoon, while de Vries completed just three laps in the second session.

The recently crowned Formula 2 champion stopped after an hour of the morning running had been completed after a technical issue that resulted in a blown battery fuse on his Silver Arrow 01 car.

Maxi Gunther, who ended the morning session fastest, ended the day in second. Antonio Felix da Costa ended up third in the afternoon session and overall with a 1m15.681s for DS Techeetah, with Mitch Evans taking fourth for Jaguar ahead of da Costa’s new team-mate, reigning FE champion Jean-Eric Vergne.

Buemi ended up sixth overall with Oliver Rowland finishing the afternoon running in seventh place in the second Nissan e.dams-run car ahead of Pascal Wehrlein (Mahindra Racing) and Bird’s team-mate Robin Frijns.

Daniel Abt rounded out the top 10 for the works Audi team ahead of BMW driver Alexander Sims and Lucas di Grassi (Audi).

The afternoon running was interrupted by a single brief red flag after an hour had passed by Jaguar driver James Calado, who finished 19th in the second session, coming to a stop at the pitlane exit.


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